This page was made Song of the Month forSeptember 2019.
"The Imperial March", also known as "Darth Vader's Theme", is a recurring instrumental theme from the Star Wars franchise, serving as the theme for Darth Vader and the Galactic Empire. It appears in all of the Star Wars films with the exception of A New Hope, and plays during appearances and mentions of Darth Vader. In the prequel trilogy, the theme is used to foreshadow Anakin Skywalker's eventual transformation into the Sith Lord. The theme has also appeared in various pieces of Star Wars media, from video games, television series, and theme park attractions.
In-universe, the song is known as "Glory to the Empire", and is used by the Empire as an anthem.
The song was featured on many Star Wars soundtracks, including for all of the films (with the exception of A New Hope), as well as on the albums John Williams Conducts John Willaims: the Star Wars Trilogy, Halloween: 17 Spooky Songs, and the soundtrack Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire.
The song was featured in the television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.
The song was featured in the following video games:
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
Star Wars: Republic Commando
LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars: Empire at War
Star Wars: X-Wing
Star Wars: TIE Fighter
Star Wars: Rebellion
Star Wars: Battlefront
Star Wars: Battlefront II
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
Star Wars: Force Commander
Star Wars Galaxies
Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
Angry Birds Star Wars
Disney Emoji Blitz
The song was featured in the following short films:
LEGO Star Wars: Revenge of the Brick
LEGO Star Wars: Bombad Bounty
LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out
The song has even made its way into comics and literature, being referenced as the Empire's anthem in the books Shadows of the Empire, The Paradise Snare, and the Servants of the Empire series; it was also hummed by Leonis Murthé in the comic book Boba Fett: Agent of Doom.
The song can be heard on the Disney Parks attraction Star Tours.
The Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy ships of the Disney Cruise Line can play the opening notes of Imperial March on their whistles during select cruise itineraries.
The song has been used by several sports companies, including:
The New York Yankees play the theme when presenting players from the opposing team when at Yankee Stadium.
The Montreal Canadians Hockey team play "The Imperial March" whenever they have a power play at games.
In January 2003, during Super Bowl XXXVII, ABC Sports took to using "The Imperial March" as a leitmotif for the Oakland Raiders.
The song was played by the Georgetown band when John Thompson led the Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team onto the floor.
The song was used to introduce Roger Federer during the 2007 US Open.
Three-time World Professional Darts Champion John Part uses the theme as entrance for his matches.
Ryan Bader has used a remixed version of the theme as his entrance music at UFC 144.
The song was played briefly during the Family Guy episode "Blue Harvest", which satirizes Star Wars.
The song has made occasional appearances in The Simpsons television series when introducing Mr. Burns.
The song was featured in the series Robot Chicken, during some of their Star Wars themed segments.
The song has been used twice in The Big Bang Theory: one where Raj plays "The Imperial March" while entering a comic-book store in the episode "The Excelsior Acquisition", and again in "The Cooper/Kripke Inversion" as Sheldon's "I'm unhappy and about to destroy the planet" music.
Before being replaced with a new theme around mid-2010, "The Imperial March" was the opening theme song (played at the "top of the hour") for The Alex Jones Show.
The U.S. version of the television game show Deal or No Deal devoted a special episode to Star Wars, due to the two contestants being lifelong fans of the franchise. Darth Vader acted as the banker and, for one round, upon his orders to the Stormtroopers to bring out the 26 cases, the march played as they brought them out.
In 2012, Volkswagen teased a Super Bowl commercial where a chorus of dogs barked the march, each dressed up as different characters in the films.
In 2007, the Band of the Welsh Guards notoriously played "The Imperial March" to greet Saudi Arabian King Abdullah when he visited the UK on a controversial state visit.
Together with "Yoda's Theme", "The Imperial March" was premiered on April 29, 1980, three weeks before the opening of the film, on the occasion of John Williams' first concert as official conductor-in-residence of the Boston Pops Orchestra.